Table of Contents

Regional Development and Proximity Relations

Regional Development and Proximity Relations

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by André Torre and Frédéric Wallet

The notion of proximity is increasing in popularity in economic and geographic literature, and is now commonly used by scholars in regional science and spatial economics. Few academic works, however, have explored the link between regional development and proximity relations. This comprehensive book redresses the balance with its assessment of the role of, and obstacles caused by, proximity relations in regional development processes.

Chapter 5: When local interaction does not suffice: sources of firm innovation in urban Norway

Rune Dahl Fitjar and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


The sources of innovation in regions have been hotly debated in recent years. While the traditional view supports local interaction as the main source of knowledge exchange and innovation (e.g. Becattini, 1987; Porter, 1990), the more recent theories of 'pipelines' have looked for the roots of innovation and knowledge diffusion outside the region. International connections (Bathelt et al., 2004; Doloreux and Parto, 2005) and exchanges within the national context (Gertler and Wolfe, 2006; Isaksen, 2009) have come to the fore as important vehicles for the generation and diffusion of innovation. The consensus emerging from these strands is that local and global interaction operate together in fostering firm-level innovation within regions and are perfectly complementary. Dynamic regions combine high levels of local interaction with specific knowledge communication channels between individual firms located in the region and the outside world (Malecki, 2000; Bathelt et al., 2004; Wolfe and Gertler, 2004; Maskell et al., 2006). Pipelines to the outside world are regarded as a key source for radical innovation, channelling new knowledge and practices to local firms, while local interaction represents a more genuine vehicle for incremental innovation. However, whether local interaction and global pipelines are complementary and whether they are linked to fundamentally different types of innovation has seldom been demonstrated. Studies analysing the sources of innovation in regions abound.

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